Incentive Programs to benefit Seneca Businesses

The City of Seneca is hoping two new incentive programs will give businesses a boost. Seneca Mayor Pro Tem Ronnie O’Kelley shares his thoughts on the recently passed Business Development Incentive Program and the Commercial Building Improvement Program. “Well, it is something that we’ve been talking about quit a while. It’s like everything, you’ve got to be able to fund it, but you find the funds because what it is going to do for your downtown. We want to take these old building and bring them back as quick as we can and as a city we’ve got to do our part, we’ve got to reinvest. So, there is $200,000 set aside just for that. People are coming in now and applying for what they would like to have to upgrade their building; pre-existing or new. So, we will look at it and look at the longevity and if somebody is in here just to fix up a building and get out of town real quick, that is not the design. The design is to help existing people who have been here and someone wanting to come here and stay, that is what we want to do, we want to be a part of it. I really and truly believe with what I am hearing daily from businesses, there’s a lot of businesses wanting to come here. I believe in the next five years, you are going to be shocked how downtown Seneca looks. You still have some litigation issues that we are dealing with, but for the most part there are people coming to us now saying ‘I’m interested in this building or that building.’ I think the big piece to that puzzle is the brewery opening up. It’s got people excited now. People are saying ‘Well, if I take this building, what can I do?’ We just about have the Hometown building finished, so we are talking with some people about different things for that building. So, that corner is going to be occupied, the corner of the brewery is going to be occupied, so things are happening. With this incentive, it’s got people wanting to freshen up their buildings. Maybe the city can be the one that helps you get that new awning you’ve been wanting or that fresh coat of paint on the front of your building. I’m looking at stuff like that too, not gutting buildings and make them new again. A lot of people just need that little bit of help to change the facade a little bit or do something a little different. So, I’m excited, I think it is a good step. You know, $200,000 isn’t a ton of money, but it is better than giving none and it is a start. Maybe every year we can increase that amount. I’m sure there are going to be things that we’re not doing right with this. It is a learning process for us too, but it is kind of rewarding and refreshing to think that now there are going to be some funds out there. Maybe it will be enough to make a difference with some people.” For more information or to apply for these new incentive programs, visit Seneca City Hall at 221 East North 1st Street, Monday through Friday between 8am and 5pm.